Sep 302014

420RADIO News for 2014-09-30 (Tuesday)

The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments today in the case of a quadriplegic man named Brandon Coats, who was fired for medical-marijuana use by his employer, Dish Network, where he worked as a telephone operator.  Coats, who has used medical marijuana since a car accident to control spasms and seizures, says he never used nor was impaired on the job. He contends he was fired in 2010 from his job as a Dish Network customer service representative after a cheek-swab drug test revealed inactive THC in his system. The debate topic was this: If it isn’t illegal to use medical marijuana, does that make it a “lawful” activity for which employers can’t fire you?  While California, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan’s Courts have ruled that their state medical marijuana laws do not protect employees from being fired over a dirty piss test, Colorado has a “Lawful Off-Duty Activities” statute that prevents firing anyone for their legal activities off the job.

Opponents of marijuana legalization in Oregon kicked off their campaign Monday standing next to an array of gummy bears, sugary cereal, chocolate bars and other products that Colorado retailers lace with marijuana and sell over the counter.  Puckett and other opponents argued that their biggest worry with legalized marijuana is that it will eventually be heavily marketed and turned into a product as mainstream as a cold beer on a hot day.  Anthony Johnson, the chief sponsor of the Oregon marijuana initiative, said opponents are wrong in thinking that illegal pot isn’t already being heavily marketed.  “Big marijuana is already here in Oregon and it’s called drug cartels,” said Johnson. “Measure 91 brings in strict controls and takes it away from the cartels.”

Public Policy Polling conducted the poll Sept. 22-23 that found a majority of Louisiana voters oppose long sentences for marijuana possession.  According to the numbers by PPP, 78 percent of Louisiana residents oppose sentences of longer than six months for marijuana possession. Seventy-one percent oppose life sentences, even for people with prior felonies.  Additionally, two-thirds of the people polled acknowledge knowing someone who has been in possession of marijuana. This showed that marijuana possession is “common” and “unremarkable” in today’s world.  The poll also found that among Louisianans, 68 percent support letting seriously ill patients use medical marijuana, 59 percent oppose jail time for first-time possession charges, and 34 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who opposed marijuana reform.

The law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Maryland goes into effect tomorrow, just don’t put it in a pot pipe.  Starting October 1, people who are caught with 10 grams of marijuana or less in the state will be issued a fine and will not be charged criminally.  The fines vary from $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second and $500 for any subsequent offense.  Selling marijuana is still a criminal offense as well. It is considered distribution under Maryland law and you can be arrested. Possession of drug paraphernalia is also still a criminal offense.  Officers will not have a scale in their vehicles to determine if the amount of marijuana is 10 grams. The marijuana will be confiscated and measured in a stable environment.  Apparently, marijuana will be taken and offenders released, with tickets or criminal summons forthcoming in the mail.

Police are looking for three men who pretended – briefly – to be police officers while they stole medical marijuana plants last week in Winterport, Maine. Surveillance cameras recorded images of the trio in the act.  On Saturday, another medical marijuana theft took place, this one in Standish. In that case, sheriff’s deputies – the real ones – charged two men with theft and aggravated assault after they allegedly beat up the owner and doused him with pepper spray.  In Winterport, the three men wore fake police items, including a SWAT-style vest, a hat with “Police” across the front and a shirt with “Sheriff” written on the front – all of which can be purchased from online retailers, according to Maine State Police. One man pointed what police believe was a semi-automatic handgun.  In Standish, two men tried to sneak into the outdoor growing area of a medical marijuana provider but tripped alarms. When they were confronted by the homeowner, they knocked him to the ground and kicked him repeatedly, then sprayed him with pepper spray.